What is Mindfulness?We all spend so much being busy, continually doing, trying to manage our lives well, giving to others and being swept up into the demands and stresses of every day life. Mindfulness meditation can give you a space to take a pause, sit back for a while, relax and nurture yourself.
Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where you are and what you’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around you. There is scientific evidence to show that practicing mindfulness meditation can have a positive effect upon our health, happiness, relationships and work.
Mindfulness meditation is a mental training practice that teaches you to slow down racing thoughts, let go of negativity, and calm both your mind and body. It involves being fully focused on “the now”thus allowing you to accept your thoughts, feelings, and sensations without judgment.
With practice, mindfulness meditation can enable us to manage stress which can have a negative effect upon health and quality of life. Research evidence has shown that it can be an effective aid in the treatment of many mental and physical health issues, as well as improving well-being.
Mindfulness meditation can enable us to regulate our emotions and lessen feelings of stress and anxiety, leading to a greater sense of calm.
Mindfulness is recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) as a way to prevent depression in people who have had 3 or more bouts of depression in the past.
How to Practice Mindfulness Meditation
Remember, meditation is a practice, so it’s never perfect. You are ready to begin now just as you are!
Find a quiet and comfortable place. Sit in a chair or on the floor with your head, neck, and back straight but not stiff. It’s also helpful to wear comfortable, loose clothing so you’re not distracted.
While it’s not necessary, a timer (preferably with a soft, gentle alarm) can help you focus upon the meditation and forget about time. While some people meditate for longer sessions, even a few minutes every day can make a difference. Begin with a short 5 minutes meditation and increase your sessions as you feel more confident in your practice.
Focus on Breathing
Become aware of your breath, observing the sensation of air moving in and out of your body as you breathe. Feel your belly rise and fall as the air enters your nostrils and leaves your nostrils. Pay attention to the temperature change when the breath is inhaled versus when it’s exhaled.
Notice Your Thoughts
The goal of mindfulness meditation is not to stop your thoughts but to become more comfortable becoming the “witness” to the thoughts. When thoughts come up in your mind simply notice them using your breathing as an anchor. Imagine your thoughts as clouds passing by, or imagine them floating up into the air as a balloon or as leaves drifting along a stream.
There is No Right or Wrong
If you find yourself getting carried away in your thoughts, with worry, fear, anxiety just return to your breath which is your anchor and will enable you to ground yourself. try not to be hard on yourself as the practice of returning to your breath and refocusing on the present is the practice of mindfulness.
How I can help YouSometimes it can be helpful to work with a meditation teacher to gain confidence and skill in developing a meditation practice. I am a registered member of the British School of Meditation and can work with you on specific issues such as stress and anxiety, sleep difficulties, dealing with life transitions, providing support during a fertility journey or during pregnancy. I am able to provide one to one sessions in a comfortable clinic setting in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire or on a zoom platform.